Terminally ill can’t be denied insurance: Punjab and Haryana High Court

The court said the patient’s desire not be treated was an issue of "patient autonomy" and "embracing dignity in death".

Updated - September 12, 2016 08:24 pm IST

Published - May 25, 2016 03:23 am IST - Chandigarh

In a landmark judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the family of a terminally-ill person, who decides to stop treatment against medical advice and dies, cannot be denied insurance claim.

The court said the patient’s desire not be treated was an issue of “patient autonomy” and “embracing dignity in death”.

Dismissing the petition of Oriental Insurance Company Limited, which had argued that the family of an insured person leaving treatment against medical advice was not entitled for claim after death, the HC upheld the order of a claims tribunal that had asked the company to pay Rs. 35.46 lakh in damages.

‘Quite different’ The bench of Justice K Kannan said last week: “Whether the patient shall be allowed to die by withdrawal of life support is quite different from a patient expressing desire not to be treated. In the former, we are broaching issue of passive euthanasia and in the latter, it is an issue of patient autonomy.”

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